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Maritime, Instrument, Radius Quadrant, Astronomy, Scientific, Italian


Astronomical  Radius Quadrant
Italy: 20th Century
Iron and brass, wood base
31.5 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches

Available for prop rental or purchase; please inquire.

Fancy, decorative iron and brass radius quadrant mounted on a square base of varnished wood with a brass medallion. A quadrant is a navigational or an astronomical instrument featuring a graduated arc measuring angles up to 90┬░. This one has engraved numbers in increments of ten from 0 to 90 and marking every five degrees. A fixed iron strut at the 45 degree mark is engraved with a design of flowers and leaves. At the top of the arc is a figurine of a brass unicorn; at the bottom of the arc is a tiny brass cherub holding a fish. A rotating brass pointer is attached to the opposite bottom corner with a brass key that allows it to pivot and point to the numbers on the arc. At the top of the pointer is a decorative brass finial with a pinhole opening and facing it at the bottom, a similarly pierced brass tube, presumably for sighting or alignment as part of its use as a measurement device. The bottom of the quadrant is attached to a metal sphere which sits inside a floral setting so it can be rotated on the stand. Tightening a brass key holds it in place. The quadrant is stamped “Made in Italy,” and was likely produced for export or for sale to foreign visitors.

Product description continues below.


Astronomical radius quadrants were used mainly for determining the altitude of a celestial body above the horizon. Meridian altitudes of the sun or a bright star could be employed for determining the geographical latitude of an observer. This one has moving parts but seems conceived more for decorative than scientific purposes.

Condition: Generally very good overall with the usual light wear and tarnishing.

Additional information


20th Century